Church Blogs

Joy to the World
December 18, 2015 @ 10:41 AM by: Jennifer Frank

Written by Pastor Abby Davidson

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people ~ Luke 2:10


On the third Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Joy. This candle is also known as the shepherd’s candle since the angels came to them proclaiming the joyful news that the Saviour had been born. Did the shepherds understand the implications of this miraculous birth? Were they in shock after seeing the skies above fill with angels praising God or did they understand that this baby was the promised Messiah? We don’t know the answer to these questions but we are told they “came with haste” to see the Christ-child.
What do those “good tidings of great joy” look like today? Is it still something that causes us to come with haste to the Saviour?
Joy and happiness are often confused. We’re told in the Bible to be joyful and we think that means we should be happy all the time. ‘Happy’ is based on a feeling whereas ‘joy’ is based on truth. For example, I feel happy when I eat chocolate or when I see a puppy. That elation that comes to us feels great but is snuffed out rather quickly when the puppy chews on your shoes or when the chocolate bar is gone. Joy on the other hand comes from knowing that regardless of my circumstances God is Sovereign and He is working for my good. Joy comes from knowing who Jesus is and understanding what he has done for – taken us from darkness to light so we can be in relationship with the Father.
The word ‘joy’ is mentioned several times throughout the Old Testament, often referring to the joy Israel should have when they remember God’s miracles and his deliverance. In the New Testament the invitation to joy is open. The joy proclaimed by the angels is for ALL people. God’s covenant is now extended to all people through Christ and we who were once lost and living in darkness are now children of light. Biblical joy then, is based on God’s open invitation to us. We can find joy in the fact that no matter what is going on around us, God’s love for us does not change. We can find joy in the fact that when Christ came to earth, he brought with him all the blessings of the Kingdom of God - blessings of redemption, reconciliation and restoration.
This is the miracle of Christmas – that God’s joy was made full in the person of Jesus. This joy is a gift we can have for ourselves and share with others. Joy to the world indeed.